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Jan 14, 2020

Why do we want you to sign your documents early?

Put simply, so that we can do our best to get your settlement through on time, with maximum protection for you.

In the first batch of documents we send you after we receive the Sale Contract will be an Appointment to Act, as required under the Settlement Agents Act. Without this we have no authority to make any requests or do any work on the file to assist you with your property purchase or sale.

With that will come a Questionnaire, which gives you the opportunity to tell us all the relevant information we will need to be able to do the job for you. Without this we often have no idea who you are or how to contact you quickly.

Please don’t hang on to these until finance is approved as there’s some urgency in our work on the day finance is approved to get the process happening.

Usually the Settlement Date is triggered by the finance approval date. The Settlement Date is usually listed on the Sale Contract as 21 or 28 days after finance approval, so the clock is running down from the date finance is approved.

This brings me to the importance of telling us your finance is approved! We are very good at what we do, but we’re not mind readers, so please don’t assume that because you have the finance approval letter, we will also get it. Ring us on 9021-4599 straight away to tell us and confirm our email address and email it straight on to us. We would prefer to get it from 3 or 4 sources rather than none.

The other thing we need to do pretty soon after finance approval is to lodge the rating enquiries. But we can’t do that without an Appointment to Act, for two reasons:

The problem with late rating enquiries is that we may not have the rating information in time to for settlement which puts the buyer in the position of having to decide whether to delay settlement until they do have the information, or settling anyway, without knowing the extent of any liability they will assume after settlement.

Remember, the rates stay with the property, not with the owner so if settlement takes place without knowing the extent of the rating arrears, the buyer may incur a very large rates bill. And typically if people haven’t paid their rates, they often haven’t paid them for years, so the arrears can be many thousands.

Another common problem for us is to receive a finance approval that's a week old, in which case the buyer may have forfeited their rights under the timber pest &/or structural building clause.

This is because most sale contracts have tight deadlines for reports to be supplied by termite and building inspectors, which are also usually triggered by the finance approval date and if you don’t get the report done in time, you can’t rely on it, which means you may have to buy a house with severe termite or structural damage.

So for these and many other good reasons, please get your documents back to us as soon as possible, within a few days.

If you don’t understand them, which is not at all uncommon, ring us and we’ll explain them to them. There are no dumb questions when buying property. We do it all the time and you do it only rarely and may have never done it before. Our knowledge and experience is free for you to learn from.


Neither Goldfields Settlements nor Paul Browning are lawyers, so none of the above should be construed as legal advice. Readers are encouraged to seek their own independent legal advice on these and any other matters involving property dealings, preferably before entering into them.

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